True Crime Analysis, Breakthroughs, Insights & Discussions Hosted by Bestselling Author Nick van der Leek

Christopher Watts’ Worst Nightmare is Coming True – and it’s not what you think

“Notice is hereby given that I will at public auction on Wednesday April 17, 2019, sell [your property at 2825 Saratoga Trail] to the highest and best bidder for cash.” 


When someone else loses their home it’s no biggie, because it’s theirs. When it’s you losing your home, it’s a completely different story. If there was a lot of trauma behind having and losing homes in the past, then the trauma is so much greater.

There is no doubt that the mountain riding like an obese woolly mammoth on Watts’ shoulders at the time of the murders was the burden of the house. We know Shan’ann was in love with her home, and didn’t want to sell it. But the home didn’t belong to her.

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Since Shan’ann was bossy, called the shots, and often told Watts what to do or how things were going to be, we can see how she would have opposed Watts on selling the house. Shan’ann was also very invested in the home, in terms of putting the names of her children on the walls, decorating rooms to color-coded specifications, and also using the house as a showpiece to brag on social media about how much she, and her husband and the family were Thriving ever after. It was easy to sell that spiel in a big, spacious, immaculate mansion, with a shiny new car in the garage, than in a grubby apartment with a battered 2006 Mustang.

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Kessinger said Watts dragged his feet about selling the house, but it’s likely Shan’ann was the reason for this feet dragging. That seemed to end though when the Watts family were summoned by the Wyndham Hill Homeowner’s Association. Watts was also keenly aware of an oil battery that was about to spring up across the road from their big, new home, and cause its equity to hemorrhage.


For someone as OCD and fussy as Shan’ann, her laissez faire attitude to a fracking battery with all its health implications [she and the children had asthma] popping up nearby, says a lot about her level of attachment to the big home, and her determination to maintain the optics at least, of a lavish, successful lifestyle.

As soon as Shan’ann and the children were dead and disposed of, Watts went into high gear to get his house on the market, and to find a new one. He didn’t waste any time, did he?  He was urgent, took charge, and got the ball rolling. This seems clear evidence that if he was dragging his feet, it was because of Shan’ann.

Perhaps this was the source of the furious screaming matches the neighbor overheard, and the reason why Watts was the one going crazy in them. He wanted to sell the house! Listen to 1:14 in the clip below:

So a major reason for disagreement and dissension would have been the house. Watts would felt he HAD to sell it, but Shan’ann didn’t want to. Perhaps she convinced him that she’d have a good month selling Thrive and that would lift them out of their debt so they could breathe for a while. Maybe he believed her. Maybe he was betting that could work. Maybe he went along with it. Perhaps that’s what the trip to North Carolina was all about – a last ditch effort to drum up new business.

But did it?


The words “house” and “home” pop up 525 and 472 times in the 1960 pages of discovery, respectively, or at an average rate of once every two pages.  The 4 177-square-foot home that is 2825 Saratoga Trail is by far the largest and most expensive of the Watts family assets. The owner is none other than Chris Watts himself. The house was purchased for $392 709 in May 2013, the same year their first child, Bella, was born.

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The outstanding principal on Watts’ home as per the recent foreclosure filing served on the new inmate at Dodge Prison in Waupun, Wisconsin, is $349 938.09.


This means over five-and-a-half years, Watts had only paid $42 770,91 on his mortgage. That’s significantly less than $10 000 a year, and significantly less than $1000 per month.

In the 67 months that have passed since the house was purchased,  an average of $638,37 has been paid off each month. That amount was supposed to be almost five times that, at $2700-$2800.  Watts has acknowledged that insurance payments on the house alone comprised $500 of the total mortgage. Using that calculation, arguably the Watts family were still averaging less than a third of the mortgage payments that were due each month.


Many who remain mystified by the Watts family murders don’t think much of the finances, or the living-beyond-their-means spiel. District Attorney Michael Rourke also mentioned the Watts’ finances dismissively in court.

According to CBS Denver:

“I think it became pretty obvious that he found a new love interest and for whatever reason in his mind, divorce wasn’t an option.I can’t speak as to why anyone would take the steps that he did but during the course of our investigation, other than the normal stressers of financial stress that I think most of us have, the occasional marital stress, we couldn’t find anything else that was a significant enough motive to annihilate your family, in the manner that he did.”

This is poor form from the prosecutor. Couldn’t find? Don’t have a motive? Look harder!

Ironically, the very area the District Attorney is minimizing as “normal stressors” was the area that wasn’t. One reason is that unlike the District Attorney who is used to living in middle class America, and probably grew up in middle class America, both Chris Watts and Shana’nn were not from middle class America. They’d risen from another social class and by the summer of 2018 were desperately trying to hang on to an upper-middle class fairy tale picture.

It’s true that many couples go through financial hardship without literally killing each other, but it’s also fair to say financial issues tend to weigh heaviest on a marriage or relationship. And here’s the rub. The worse the finances are, the worse the fighting that happens inside families.

Chronic financial disaster is going to weigh a lot more heavily than run-of-the-mill bad debt.

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In the Watts family, what made this second disaster so fraught was that it was a nightmare they’d previously eluded, only to be caught up in the crocodile-infested quagmire a second time. But the second time there were three children to fjord through the swamp, two of them often sickly. There was also Shan’ann’s $100 000 surgery in August 2017, that the Watts’ family were till trying service many months later.

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Probably the biggest obstacle both Watts and his wife faced if they wanted to get out of the debt black hole they were stuck in, was themselves. Both Watts and Shan’ann came from relevatively poor backgrounds, so a lot of personal pride and status was invested in the house on Saratoga Trail. It was a symbol of their great rags to riches success story. It was something they had built together into a home, and an impressive one, the biggest on the block.

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The problem with such symbols, especially when they’re not real, the symbol can make you, but it can also drag you down and destroy you. Most fairy tales when they encounter the real world, and real world limits, end in tears.

A case can therefore be made, that if the house was taken out of the equations of this crime [keep the unwanted pregnancy, keep the mistress, keep the so-so finances] – but take away the real monster, take away the unaffordable castle, then everyone is free. Poor, not living so large, but alive and free.

Watts clearly wanted the best of both worlds. To keep his lifestyle and start a new life. He got his second wish.



  1. Adele

    That’s an interesting take. And probably a factor. I can’t see me ever living like that, though. They couldn’t afford it when they bought it. Besides that, though, this guy was tormented about his sexuality and enjoying both sides of it. It’s really very sad.
    And he has definitely a very dark side. 😢

    • boycie

      Sorry for my ignorance but has it been confirmed that he was bi-sexual?

      • BAMS

        I don’t think so…?

      • Kiwi

        No . It was proven false .

        • nickvdl

          It wasn’t proven false. Or true. The FBI seemed to accept Bolte’s version after initially rejecting it. And CNN has given Bolte a fair amount of air time.

      • wolfiebear

        He was not Bi-sexual

  2. BAMS

    But even adding in the massive financial burden as a motive, as someone mentioned – I think it was a criminal psychologist – what Chris did was extremely rare and what makes it rarer still, is the fact that they usually commit suicide afterwards. Chris didn’t kill him self, in fact he was the opposite, showed zero remorse , looked proud of himself, was well-rested and smiling?

    • Shannon

      Its not rare, at all.

      • BAMS

        I didn’t say MURDERING YOUR FAMILY was rare or unusual, I said this particular CRIME is. I don’t need to fucking explain myself to you all over & over. Don’t agree? Move the fuck on.

    • A

      Chris Watts wasn’t well-rested. Shan’ann came home at 1:45 AM and he was taking her body and the kids bodies roughly four hours later on August 13, 2018. He was probably up most of the night, if not all night, killing, loading their bodies, cleaning, etc.
      Sleep deprivation might have been an ongoing problem with him.
      His mistress Nichol Kessinger said she believed he was generally getting only 5 hours of sleep in one of her police interviews, and that might have been one of several reasons he went off the deep end.

      • BAMS

        Likely, even so – he LOOKED well rested did he not? I saw no puffy red eyes, no evidence of crying, yawning etc. My point being, it was not so much the AMOUNT of sleep he had but more so how “normal” he appeared, albeit nervous and awkward, on the porch interviews. No one would have guessed he’d only had a few hours sleep or that he’d just dug a grave and shoved his children into tiny holes in oil tanks.

        He also ate pizza and slept ok the next night at their friends house.
        Sleep deprivation happens to mothers too, usually averaging a few hours every night if feeding babies on demand, we don’t snuff our kids out and we sure as hell don’t even “appear” well rested. That’s a BS excuse for killing your whole family.

    • Shannon

      Hi BAMS.
      I read this one site almost daily.
      Crime online.
      It’s interesting and horrifying.

  3. Nick

    Family murder is not extremely rare.

    • BAMS

      Not family murder per se, but the facts surrounding this whole murder is, hence why it has attracted enormous attention.

      • nickvdl

        Clarify what you mean by: what Chris did was extremely rare in comparison to the average family murder. I’m interested to know why you think this is such an exception case or crime.

        • BAMS

          To be honest, I’m over all this, I’ll let a million other people explain why and and how they might see this murder as particularly unusual.

    • BAMS

      For instance show me another family like theirs, where the murderer exhibits love and care for his kids, has no history of violence or even anger issues who then murders his whole family in cold blood, disposes of the bodies in the manner that he did and then acts so casual and uncaring afterwards? He didn’t even feel he needed a lawyer! Just “come on in everyone and look around, I just buried ‘em
      like five minutes ago but go on through the mansion that I haven’t finished staging yet!” No, nothing weird at all…

      I’ve personally never seen or heard ANYTHING like it. Ever. Hence why so many people supported him and even bought his story that Shann’an flipped out in the kids first.

      • Shannon

        This house in Canada is not considered a mansion. Its kinda funny how in the states people think this is a big house. It was furnished horrible. Very cold, not warm.
        The only reason this is getting mega attention is because if Shanann’s videos. Because now everything is out in the open. Mist people don’t throw their lives on the Internet, in this manner.

        • BAMS

          It was a mansion compared to what most “average joes” live in! Tell me that’s not a huge house? They didn’t need one even half the size nor could they afford it. It was a just a movie set in their THRIVE freak show and yes it was cold, ugly, tacky and cheap looking regardless of size.

          • wolfiebear

            I think the house was nice, but when me and my ex brought our first home its was a two bed terraced, (coronation street style) we then had two children a boy and girl, who slept in same bedroom until they started school, but we started saving for a three bed as soon as our daughter was born, then we moved to a four bed then five bed, when we got divorced i found it very easy to move back to a two bed (flat) and live comfortable, its a slow progression you work upto, and if things go wrong you find easier although disapointing to go backwards,i think SW going into so much debt for such a big house before they even had kids was moving way too fast, it was a flip of a coin they could afford in first place, then came kids year after, then another, then medical bills for SW, then cece/bella, that house had slipped away few years before it just was not substainable, but to then go 2 x private nursery im shocked at SW and then nico, i love and admire SW but her goals and finaces must have been the most shocking ive heard off i do not understand why she wanted everything straight off noone gets that or does that, its also fun looking back and seeing where you came from and what you have achieved, not affording to get a new kettle boiling water on cooker, going withour food to pay the elctric bill etc, i really enjoyed the begining of our life because we achieved so much later on and majot difference it just doesnt bother me what i have as long as my home safe and clean and bills paid the rest is a bonus..

          • kigrut

            That’s the proper way to build a family, wolfiebear. I don’t get why some people need so much space while being in so much debt.
            I’m not Shan’ann’s biggest fan – that doesn’t mean that I think she deserved to die, No way. I would have wished for her, that she had a wake-up call long before, but she was just too self-centered IMO.

          • nickvdl

            I don’t think a single person in the CrimeRocket community believes Shan’ann deserved to die, and I don’t recall anyone ever using those words on this site – ever. Chris Watts, on the other hand, probably had reasons [in his mind] why he did what he did. Primarily he was trying to stop his baby from coming into the world, and even that doesn’t equate with him thinking she deserved to die. In his stupid mind he probably thought something along the lines that it was “necessary”, or his “only way out” given the life he was hoping to pursue. But a conversation like that is never a case of saying “I think she deserved to die.” People who make those accusations know better, and know they’re without merit, but make them anyway.

      • nickvdl

        Scott Peterson, Henri van Breda, Jason Rohde, OJ Simpson [killed his wife]. And those are all very high profile cases.

        • BAMS

          Nope. To me, no comparison but we can agree to disagree! OJ had been BEATING the fuck out of Nicole for years! They weren’t even together and there are police records and pictures where he had beaten the shit out of her. Did he kill children too? How is it even REMOTELY similar?

        • BAMS

          Oh and with Scott Peterson, he was an arrogant, smiling assassin and he did not have living children yet, that poor unborn baby didn’t have a chance to make one breath. My point is, we had no evidence of him being a great doting and loving Father like we did with Chris. So again, no real comparison.

          • nickvdl

            BAMS I’m not sure how well you know the Scott Peterson case. I’m assuming you don’t know it very well. Scott Peterson’s approach to fatherhood is one dimension. One can hardly take that in isolation and hold it up, and say it’s not an exact match so there’s no real comparison.

            In fact Scott Peterson was a doting father to his mistresses’ daughter – took her to school, cooked meals for mother and child etc.

            Also, you may not think the Scott Peterson case is applicable, but Nichol Kessinger did. That’s why she did a little research on how Amber Frey handled the situation and what happened to her.

            Despite what you think, there are very many comparisons to the Scott Peterson case including:

            -both worked in a chemicals related industry
            -both their wives were pregnant
            -both wives were stay-at-home moms at the time of their murders
            -both their wives were murdered during the night
            -both murderers were doted on by parents as perfect children [Golden Child]
            -both murderers were doted on by their wives
            -both murderers were said to be cold and standoffish in the days prior to the murders
            -both had mistresses at the time of the murders
            -both involved premeditated murder and extensive planning + cover up
            -both disposed of bodies a long distance from home and in liquid
            -both left behind virtually no evidence of when and how the murders were committed
            -both were in severe financial difficulty at the time of the murders
            -both expressed an interest in pawning their wives’ jewelry at the time of the murders
            -both tried to convey their crimes as a missing person’s case
            -both were under virtually immediate suspicion and lied repeatedly to investigators and the media
            -both were suspected of using bleach to clean up physical traces of themselves
            -both vacuumed and did laundry in the immediate aftermath of the crimes
            -both were approximately the same age when the murders were committed

            I think it’s also time to mention that I’m beginning to feel a little uncomfortable with your comments. There’s more and more ALL CAPS in them and a lot of ??????? and so on, which is never a good sign. This site is intended to be for rational and informed discussion. What this site is not is a place to FEEL STRONGLY about something JUST BECAUSE YOU FEEL STRONGLY.

            If you can rein yourself in and tone it down, and get back to having intelligent discussions, great. If you can’t, you won’t be allowed to continue commenting at this site.

          • monicakelly7488

            I know your comment goes back to December, I was under the impression that Scott and Laci were not in financial ruin, she did have an insane jewelry collection she inherited from her Grandmother, said to total over 100k. Also, their home was modest, as well as in Modesto, not the fanciest of areas (though their neighborhood was more upscale). Also, Laci was to inherit 140k in 2005. Just my one point in your bulletin, which is spot on.
            Here in an interesting article on their finances.
            CC debt totaling over 20k is insane to me, but in the article it states he had good credit, unlike the Watts, also, he paid his debts on time, sometimes exceeding the bare bones minimum payment. However, I agree, they were in debt, however it was debt they could have easily pulled out of. He seemed to want the “high life”. Belonging to a rather decent golf club. As well as cigar clubs, he seemed to have champagne tastes on a beer budget, so to speak.

          • nickvdl

            Debt is easy to sort out in theory. Live more modestly. But if you can’t, it creates an impossible bind and someone has to pay.

    • Jerry Manziel

      Smothering and suffocating your 3 and 4 year old children IS extremely rare……period. That’s the especially disturbing thing about this. One child in a night diaper. Watts then disposed of those babies like so much garbage, breaking their bones to stuff them down an 8″ diameter opening.

      • Shannon

        Parents are responsible for 61% of child murders under the age of 5.
        Sometimes murder-suicide in these cases.
        450 children are murdered each year, in the US.
        FBI report.

  4. LW

    The financial problems should not have been glossed over the way they were when they were considering motive. These folks had filed bankruptcy and were headed to foreclosure. When or how would that cycle have ended especially with another mouth to feed on the way? I am not trying to be callous, but I can definitely see the financial problems were huge and people are killed over twenty bucks every day on the street, so it’s not a stretch.

    • BAMS

      For an premeditated murder it sure ended up looking extremely rushed, not well planned and totally shoddy! GREAT day to do it f… tard!!

      • nickvdl

        Do you feel you have a strong idea about why the crimes were committed, or are you baffled?

        • BAMS

          I seriously have zero energy to go over it again & again. I sound like a parrot and it’s exhausting.

  5. Sylvester

    Another big lie here foisted onto the American people is that everyone should be able to own a home. that home ownership is some kind of a right, rather than a privaledge – if you can afford it. Banks are very tight fisted with mortgage loans unless you have a squeaky clean past and a great job. So people go the route of mortgage lenders, where high interest ensues sometimes with variable rates which go higher each month until they cap out at some ridiculous high amount and you realize you are only paying the interest, and a few dollars toward the principal. At that point you walk away and another foreclosure is born. Chris made a modest living – Sha’nann quit her job for a pyramid job that does not sustain itself over time. Now, apparently, the house cannot be listed through a private realtor because of the notoriety (maybe Trent Reznor will buy it) but also because it’s in foreclosure – so it will be sold at auction. The bank who made the loan will get the house and the HOA will have to sue for the back dues. Or the lien will be satisfied first by the HOA, but the bank is a greedy unforgiving animal and will take all of it. That is, whoever buys the house at auction will have a check ready at auction that the bank requires, or you don’t bid. Might be interesting to go to the auction, which is usually held at the courthouse, not the house. Believe me, there are people who do not care who lived there and what happened. Walls will be returned to a soft taupe color and the might be resold again. The fracking going on in the backyard won’t be disclosed – it’s an auction, and the point is to offload the house to the highest bidder, period.

    • Shannon

      Love Trent Reznor.

  6. Sylvester

    And by the way (I have experience with this) the realtors are the perpetrators of the lie that you can afford a house you cannot afford. With Sha’nann the realtor knew what she wanted – big. It’s a new subdivision so there would be bulldozers there all of the time putting up new houses – if you don’t mind the dust and noise then you have a nice house – but no view. But oil wells going in constantly – that was likely not disclosed, or it was downplayed. To have a good working knowledge of just what you are buying into you have to have full disclosure in the form of the CCR’s, and you cannot get a copy of the CCR’s until you are in escrow. After you do buy, attend home owner’s meetings. Now again, what’s going on in the community is only talked about by the board in “executive session” – after the home owners go home. So – get on the board. Run for the board. Then and only then, do you know what is going on in your community – but at that point you have become a “us”, while the other home owners are the “them” even though you are all homeowners there, and lines get drawn. Secrets are kept. Chris was working hard to satisfy their mountain of debt, but Sha’nann could have taken her head out of the clouds and gone to meetings, run for the board, and understood that those that do not pay attention to history are doomed to repeat it.

  7. LW

    I know this may rub some people the wrong way, so I want to preface by saying I am in no way victim-blaming for the atrocities that were committed here. What happened to Shan’ann and those precious children was the most evil thing I’ve heard in a long time. However. I think it would have been beneficial to the family – for a lot of reasons – if Shan’ann had had a real job. I just don’t think we’ll ever get the truth about how much or how little she was making hocking that garbage. Plus, traveling? Traveling is expensive! I haven’t traveled at all since I had my baby – and he’s two now. Also, I make a decent paycheck, I have a Master’s degree, and I don’t have a fraction of the shoes she had in her closet. Once I pay for my mortgage and daycare bill, I don’t have anything extra for myself. And that’s another thing. If she was selling Thrive for a living, why were both her kids full-time at Primrose? Primrose is expensive! These folks were in way over their head, and forgive me for saying this, but Shan’ann had her head in the clouds with that Thrive shit. She really needed an intervention badly. Again, I hate to put this out there given what happened, but that’s what’s been going through my mind lately.

    • Eleni

      An honest forensic audit of their true finances over the years would be most instructive. I am sure that someone will come out with a book at some point and I cannot wait to read it.

      What I see from the videos is that Shanann was a gifted saleswoman. There is nothing to say that she would not have made a lot of money if she had been allowed to live. All you need is the right product and she was just getting started.

      How much money did Shanann actually make in 2018? Do we know? One YouTuber I admire greatly, Jewels of Thought, pointed out that Shanann was featured in Thrive’s magazine. That does lead me to believe that she was making more money than most. The people near the top of any pyramid scheme make money.

      Chris paid for dinners with NK using an alternate form of payment – gift cards from work. How do we know that he did not have additional hidden earnings? Why is everyone so sure he only made the reduced salary from Anadarko? When neighbors say that he was the first to help, how do we know he was not making money that way? Going to people’s homes and fixing their cars? Chris was one selfish man. He was just hiding it his entire life. He is the kind to hide his salary from his family. He was wining and dining his mistress while his wife stressed over every penny.

      Chris is a liar and I am disinclined to believe a word from him BUT was he being truthful about the bank account and Shanann not letting him near it because he had caused problems? How do we know that he was not the cause of many of their financial ills? If you pay $500/month in health insurance, doesn’t that cover most of the medical costs? So what if the girls had medical issues? Many of my friend’s babies and toddlers have something or other that needs medication/therapy/surgery. It is pretty common.

      The more I read, the more I am convinced that Chris is a your “garden variety” idiot psychopath who is smart only in his own head and because no one ever bothered to challenge him. He was done with Shanann and the girls and so they had to exit stage right.

      • Marie

        Shannan went through money like water

        • Eleni

          NK was not going to be bargain basement, I guarantee you! Chris was looking for a sugar mama and NK would never have been one. Women who work that hard for what they have will not support a house-husband. He paid on their dates, didn’t he? If Shanann walked off and took the girls and Chris had not one bill in the world, NK and her daddy would not have supported Chris.

      • BAMS

        She might have been making more than most but it was no secret that to maintain that level you basically had to keep POURING that money BACK into the Thrive well to maintain the image of “success”. They had to buy a certain amount of product each month relative to each level apparently, the bonus money was for a car they couldn’t otherwise afford and would have been better used for Primrose or grocery bills etc. Level had it all set up so you appear Grand and like a corporate high flyer. The big house, the Lexus, it was part of her “show” to sell the Level/Thrivin’ life. That’s the danger in these MLM jobs, you’re almost forced to keep up appearances and there’s zero security.

        • Eleni

          Yes but, by the same token, you can shed it all just as quick and no one cares. As GenX, I know lots of women (and some men) who participated in MLMs. Everyone knows the deal and that the grand lifestyle is built on credit! Shanann was willing to stay in NC and not return to Denver, in the end. She asked Chris, in a text message, if she should stay behind. Her inside was telling her that something was gravely wrong but she let her head overrule her heart.

          I think that people tend to project their own finances onto Chris. It is tough out there for many young families. Chris shows us, though, that he is not as deprived as one might think. Just scratch that surface.

          Also, back to the MLMs, you can move on from them into legit businesses once you have honed your biz development and sales skills. I know people who have. Shanann was always in sales. She was just not in the right type to make a lot of money. It could have happened for her.

    • BAMS

      Exactly. The financial stress must have been huge but little raisin balls Chris let her have it all and performed in her daily “thrive shows” didn’t he? He didn’t have the guts to tell her to stop acting like a millionaire.

      Instead, it all got too much for poor little Chris so he plotted their murders instead. Great going fool.

    • Jerry Manziel

      All sadly true……..

  8. EllTee

    Nobody deserves what happened to Shan’ann or her little girls/unborn baby boy. Nobody, for any reason, full stop. And, I don’t want to speak ill of a seemingly sweet, loving person, who is not around to defend herself.

    I want to say, however, that Shan’ann seemed very materialistic, way more so than the average person. It’s okay; everybody has their “thing”, and in and of itself, it’s not the worst character flaw in the world. However, when it causes a person to live chronically beyond their means, it’s a problem. I can’t really relate to that mindset, because I’m one of the least materialistic people I know. I live in a tiny house I bought for cash, I might buy myself a pair of jeans once a year, and my “pride and joy”, thing-wise, is a Subaru Forester that’s almost 5 years old. (I do like high quality things, even if it means I pay a bit more and have way fewer possessions . I like things that are built to last.) I just couldn’t and wouldn’t pay out the nose for a crappy mcmansion that’s constructed out of plastic, elmer’s glue, and wet Kleenex. I could not wear all those shoes in several lifetimes, and a Lexus, while lovely, is no nicer and in fact less safe than my Subie. I’m not sure if she was more about having stuff, or the appearances it gives, or a combination of the two, but anyway, even though I know people like this IRL, I can’t really relate.

    Nuff said about that. Shan’ann had a beautiful heart and soul, and she loved deeply and completely and unconditionally. That’s what matters; that’s what is missed.

    • BAMS

      I agree completely! That house was just a big cheap *House of Cards*. The people that say NK must have been jealous of Shann’an are kidding themselves and likely underestimate her. All the digs at her calling her a plain and ugly whore compared to Glam Shan are unwarranted. I bet NK could actually afford the clothing she wore and could not have cared less about having tacky long fake gel nails – they were clearly different people.

      Yes Shann’an was very materialistic and showy. I feel maybe she was living vicariously through her little girls, giving them everything she herself never had in life, the big house, the princess bedrooms, the fancy school, the beautiful wardrobe of clothes. She sure as hell did NOT deserve to die though that’s for sure. The precious little girls especially didn’t deserve to die and were the truest victims in this weird senseless crime.

      Chris is just a weirdo and a gutless wimp.

    • Eleni

      @elltee I am curious as to what generation you belong to. I am GenX. It is adding to stereotypes and that is wicked but, in my personal life, GenX and Millennials suffer from opting for “appearance of quantity” over “actual quality.” (Now, I know it is not true for every person!)

      So many people I know opted for “crappy mcmansion that’s constructed out of plastic, elmer’s glue, and wet Kleenex” that your comment made me exclaim out loud!!! That’s it. Shoddy work that looks good at the start. All appearance.

      I do not believe anyone on my Facebook feed, in fact. There is classic keeping up with the joneses and then there is outright conning everyone around you!

      And any woman I know who goes out of her way to state how loving her husband is and how awesome their marriage is confirms for me that neither is true. I know some excellent couples and they have no reason to give anyone a summary of their relationship.

      • EllTee

        Hey, I just saw this reply. To answer your question, I am a late boomer, borderline Gen X.

        My kids are all Millennials, spanning 15 years between eldest and youngest, and they seem to take after me in that they are more about quality than quantity. So, I’m not sure if it’s just a generational phenomenon, but you might be onto something!

  9. Kellytreybig

    Did you mean they only paid $638.37 per month? With a decimal?

    • nickvdl

      With a decimal, yes.

      • Eleni

        That is not unusual @nickvdl. The point is to keep the house long enough to flip it and not to actually pay down the mortgage and keep that home. Shanann saw herself as a businesswoman and was trying to play the real estate game for sure. Do we know how much she made off her first house in NC?

  10. Sylvester

    Maybe he should have taken over the finances. He said she took them over long ago because he just wasn’t good with them. Who says? Her. Surely he might have been better at them than she. This is what I mean by she had a poor thought process around the accomplishments her husband brought to the table. He was head mechanic at the dealership. Sure, it’s a blue collar job, but car mechanics can make a great hourly wage.. Then he moves over to Anadarko and became Lead there. Sky would have been the limit. Nichole K. tells him he had a great future there. They might have even sent him through school to become an engineer. But he was not thought highly of at home and after a while not only does it wear you down, but you start to live into it – and be what you know is expected of you – very little.

    • nickvdl

      Maybe he should have taken over the finances.>>I think that’s exactly what he did.

      • kigrut

        Yeah, for half a day or so..!

  11. nickvdl

    Someone left a comment – a private comment – along the lines of: you clearly have no idea how mortgages work in America. And here’s a direct quote:

    “It is surprising to me that in the first five years of their mortgage ANY of the principle was paid off.”

    It would be great to get Maura’s expertise on realty on this point, and this post, but first I’d like to make a few things clear:

    Irrespective about how things work in America, in the real world, when you buy something, you buy something.A transaction takes place. You buy something, you get it, you pay for it.

    I get it that there is an alternative universe out there where people “buy” things, and never pay for them, and when one credit card is maxed out, you just take out another and another and another etc etc. If you’re going to make that your argument as a normalized scenario, and say, hey man, the Watts family were just like any other family in America when it came to debt, then my response is – maybe in your world, chronic, serious, deferred debt is normal. Maybe it was normal for Shan’ann. It’s not normal for everyone. And in America, just like many other countries, if you don’t pay for something for long enough – especially a big, expensive something like a car or a house – you lose that thing.

    Some people don’t like to lose the things they have, that they worked for and paid for. Those who don’t mind losing things they “bought” probably never really paid for them in the first place.

    When we go through Chris Watts backstory, he was quite a dutiful, loyal, hardworking guy. So the financial mess he found himself in had to be very jarring. How is it that you work, and you work, and your money just disappears down a black hole? Again, some may say – hey, I’ve had huge debt in my life, it really didn’t bother me. Great. It does bother some people and it should.

    Parallel to the blood, pain and destruction of bodies in this story is the destruction of real wealth, and the gnaw of greed.

    Parallel to the lie that there can be actions without consequences, purchases without payments, is the delusion that he could commit murder with none of those consequences.

    • Cheryl

      I was reviewing the Watts’ 2015 bankruptcy filing, which listed their HOA fees at $44 per month. In August 2018, three years later, they were being taken to court for almost $1,500 in unpaid dues, which , if I’m correct, indicates they had not paid their nominal $44 monthly HOA fee since they had filed bankruptcy in 2015. I found this very interesting as an indicator of how tight their finances were, even immediately after the bankruptcy filing, when, presumably, at least some of their debts were discharged (in the interviews with LE, Chris could not, or would not, reveal how much debt had been liquidated via the bankruptcy.) Add to these woes another child (Celeste), Shan’ann’s quitting a salaried job and signing up with Le-Vel (which, in terms of income, probably mimics a negatively amortizing loan), a third child on the way, and you have an even worse financial situation than 2015. It is very frustrating not to have a full financial disclosure regarding the Watts, because I believe the magnitude of their financial problems would substantially undermine DA Rourke’s simplistic assertion that Chris could have simply pursued a divorce to get a “fresh start.”

      • nickvdl

        Great insight there Cheryl. I’d like to confirm whether the Lexus was a lease. If it was, then neither the parents owned their own vehicles either. Didn’t own their home [couldn’t afford it], and didn’t own their vehicles. Makes you wonder what assets they did own?

        Agree that a third child would do nothing but worsen an already precarious financial setup.

  12. Anna

    If Shannon was an $80K sales producer, how much of those sales did she actually net as income?? Besides a car lease payment and some free vacations? 20%? 30%? I did the math on Chris’s income, after taxes and insurance he likely netted about $3200 a month, not enough to afford the house AND $500 weekly for both kids to go to daycare. Not to mention how they would even make credit card payments or medical bill payments. People seem to think she netted $80K in income – I’ve never seen that verified, I’ve seen reference that she was an $80K sales producer. If she netted 30% of that, that would add another $2000 monthly to the household income which would have paid only for the day care costs.

  13. Sara

    Interest is usually the vast majority of the mortgage payment for the first 5-10 years of a loan. It’s not surprising to me at all that they still had that amount of principle balance remaining. I do agree though that their spending was out of control. I’m surprised they were even able to have such high credit limits so soon after bankruptcy. I’m also surprised that he was even able to get approved for a mortgage that was so expensive. It was only his name on the loan, so only his income was taken into consideration.
    On another topic.. was it ever confirmed that an oil facility was actually going to be built there? Curious if it’s a fact or just another lie from Chris Watts in an attempt to get her to sell.

    • nickvdl

      Interest is usually the vast majority of the mortgage payment for the first 5-10 years of a loan.>>>Do you know what the interest rate was between 2013 and now? Interest rates in the US have just been raised to 2.25%.

      United States – Interest Rate Data
      2013 0.25 2014 0.25 2015 0.50 2016 0.75 2017 1.50

      Folks seem to be missing the point that the mortgage payment per month was $2 700-$2 800. $500 of that was insurance. On average Watts was paying $500 + 100 and change. I don’t care what the interest is, he was falling behind badly on his mortgage, which is why he was facing foreclosure.

      This is a logic test.

      In a true crime case which ends with a triple murder, and the murderer immediately calls his realtor after disposing of the bodies and tries to make arrangements for his home – which everyone can see was too large – is your argument really…oh, pooh poof, I don’t think…interest sminterest…house maybe…I don’t know…

      Is that your position?

      If that is your position, then let’s talk about motive. Let’s take the house and finances out of the equation because it just wasn’t a big deal. So what was the big deal?

      Or is the argument, there is no big deal, and Chris Watts is a narcissistic psychopath?

      I think it’s important to be clear, either you’re going to have a rational argument about numbers and what he was really doing, or you can be dismissive of all of it and give him a label. Which is it?

      • Michele

        No way homeowner’s insurance on a $392K home was $500 per month in Colorado – this sounds more like an annual premium amount, not a monthly. Chris didn’t know what he was talking about, clearly showing his ignorance.

        Chris Watts was infatuated with Kessinger and was impressed with her financial savvy, he stated so.
        Yes, he and Shanann were buried in debt and going negative each and every month and this was surely a great stressor in their marriage.

        Reading every page of the 1960 pages of discovery, friends painted Shanann as very controlling, OCD and I think she took advantage of Chris and his kindness and willingness to bend over backwards for her, and over the years this treatment of him likely took quite a toll on him emotionally to the point it became easy for him to step out on his marriage and meet someone new. Kessinger was everything he had ever wanted and never in a million years did he expect to find someone like her. Kessinger stated in one of her interviews she wanted her own family and with Chris and his two girls she could likely see that her ideal of her own family wouldn’t happen. Remember, Chris was infatuated with her and he already demonstrated that he would allow someone to walk all over him in order to make Shanann happy, why wouldn’t he snuff out his family to make Kessinger happy in fulfilling her dreams of having her own family with him?

        Chris had lots of reasons to off his family, not just financial.

      • Ralph Oscar

        “No way homeowner’s insurance on a $392K home was $500 per month in Colorado – this sounds more like an annual premium amount, not a monthly.”

        Michele, you may be forgetting that, since CW wasn’t able to put 20% down for the purchase, the loan was subject to mortgage insurance, which was as much as $300/month. The amount for “insurance” included both the homeowner’s insurance AND the mortgage insurance.

        Looking at it that way, $500 is not an outrageous sum. It’s the mortgage insurance that’s outrageous, given how safe mortgages typically are.

    • BAMS

      Because Shann’an’s Mom signed as guarantor on their big ass loan that’s how.

      • mitzi2006

        Do you know for sure shananns mom was a guarantor? Looks pretty clear that they filed for bankruptcy themselves, if that’s true they wouldn’t have been able to sign

  14. Shannon

    We don’t know if their arguments were over money, the house, daycare. Everything financial. I’m sure it would be a huge factor. When owing a home, bank the lender, after 3 months, there gonna move in. I’m surprised it went to 3 months. Maybe he wanted to sell, she didn’t. Thinking with new baby we need this house. The only thing we see is trips, car….. thrive. Before Thrive….none of this.
    Maybe Chris is freaking out with her, arguments…she’s like don’t worry…You have to worry. You’d gonna lose your house, your credit line. You can’t go bankrupt everytime you get into trouble. You got 2 kids another on the way. Where would they go. His job is stable, hers can be done anywhere. They might have to rent a house, not buy….creditscore. Perhaps he sees all this, thinking alot about it. Her not stepping up, along with all their other problems, new girl in his life.
    This might make you want to kill.
    He might have thought….F–k this.

  15. Shannon

    I forgot, I don’t know how much it costs to have a baby over there. Where I live, we don’t pay Anything for Health coverage.
    So add that cost, plus Shanann’s and the kids other health costs……holy moly.
    Plus new baby, about to lose house.
    Big stress factor.
    Big worry.

  16. Shannon

    Also I have never seen a spouse, male or female talk like Shanann did to her kids and Chris. If anything I would look at the person and actually might say something to them . In my eyes I would think…what a f–king asshole, or bitch. I would look down on them and lose respect for the person. I would feel just terrible for the kids the other person. And this All on Video. I would imagine far worse behind the camera.
    So can you imagine having to live like this for years, day after day?

  17. Cheryl

    I think the Watts’s living beyond their means and the resulting financial mess are the primary reasons for their annihilation, including Chris’s. Both Chris and Shan’ann lived in financial fantasyland: Shan’ann spent too much and Chris deferred the finances to Shan’ann (of all people), because I don’t think he wanted to take responsibility for it. Moreover, ceding the financial decisions to Shan’ann enabled Chris to enjoy the financial fantasy ride but avoid blame if issues arose, as they did with the 2015 bankruptcy filing. I also believe that Nichol Kessinger was tied to Chris’s financial fantasy because she represented someone who was unfettered by a family and its attendant obligations.
    I just watched the pre-lie detector test interview, where LE asks Chris to share details about the family’s finances. Chris states he deferred the finances to Shan’ann because she was good at juggling/“prioritizing” the bills—meaning he knew there were problems but left it up to Shan’ann to keep the Saratoga Titanic afloat—likely by paying one credit card with another or by borrowing against retirement savings to “catch up” on the mortgage. It wasn’t until they didn’t have any leeway to juggle and no immediate solutions in sight that Chris decided to dispose of his financial burdens, most of which were tied to Shan’ann, Bella, Celeste and the unborn Nico. The Watts children were certainly the unfortunate and tragic offspring of two very irresponsible adult children.

    • Marie

      A perfect storm

    • Lori Mahan Stone

      Just so you know..sw. took over the financial storm yrs ago when cw sold 3 Wheeler to cheap. That’s what his friend said

  18. Sylvester

    I like the way you summarize things Cheryl. Very articulate. Did you notice when the officer is questioning Watts in the kitchen and asks about credit cards, joint accounts, etc., Watts makes a pretense, and I say pretense because he knew full well that there was no need to check to see if she had made any purchases after she “ran off” with the kids on the 13th – he spends an inordinate amount of time going through the prompts on the phone as the officer stands quietly by. This has Watts appear concerned, and like he’s really trying to find out if she left a credit card bread trail. He can also appear to be busy on his phone, instead of going down the slippery slope of answering questions. Of course in this amount of time the officer is likely not thinking about what Watts is doing so much as observing his behavior.

  19. Sylvester

    I think the wake up call for me in this case is he’s normal, he’s a human being, he’s me, he’s us. I no longer think he had sociopathic tendencies, or something traumatic happened to him in his childhood, no more than anyone else, or he’s just a narcissist, or any other kind of convenient label – he’s a guy, who had an inappropriate response as a solution to ordinary problems. When I look back on my life I can recall some pretty drastic instances where I’ve done some pretty unsavory things. I’ve lied, I’ve cheated, I’ve stole. I’ve harped, manipulated, whined and cajoled. I would like to think I wouldn’t commit quadruple homicide but sometimes I’m not a very nice person, I’m selfish and unkind and nasty. So I get pretty uncomfortable when I read about how Sha’nann behaved in her marriage or about Nichole Kessinger’s actions cheating with a married man. What’s at the core of this – usually some fear. I heard a good description of what the monkey mind will come up with when we’ve done something we’re not proud of: “people will do personality acrobats inside their heads so that they don’t feel the guilt of what they’ve done when they are forced to face their sins as what they are, instead of prettying them up in their minds as something good and moral.”

    • Cheryl

      Thanks, Sylvester, and, yes, Marie, a tragic perfect storm. Sylvester, your comment regarding personality acrobatics conducted to rationalize poor or criminal behavior is compelling, because I’ve wondered what sets Chris apart from other men or women in similar circumstances, when they make “rational” versus criminal decisions. For example, is there something or someone(s)in Chris’s background who enabled and intensified his inherent passivity by making decisions for him, by never expecting him to take responsibility for himself, by ultimately allowing him to retreat within himself? And did this retreat, this hyper-interiority result over time in a disconnect from others’ needs and emotions to the extent that he avoided them, ergo his social awkwardness? Further, when Chris decided to finally assert himself, did his lifelong passivity prevent him from doing so in socially acceptable ways because he had no frame of reference or confidence in terms of his own experience? It seems that the extreme nature of Chris’s emergence from his shell, which was still covert, matches his exacerbated passivity on the other end of the spectrum—“Chris will do anything I tell him to do.”—Shan’ann Watts. I don’t know. These are questions that roll around in my mind and what makes this case, for me, fascinating and haunting.

      • Cheryl

        One other thought, Chris’s mother noted that he was a model child, that he never rebelled as a teenager. I can see where a parent would think they had been blessed with an “easy” kid” and reinforced his passivity instead of considering that it should be evaluated.

        • nickvdl

          Good point – and Shan’ann also reinforced that passivity, didn’t she?

    • nickvdl

      Yeah, the horror isn’t that he’s a psychopath, or a monster, or some strange alien being. He’s someone everyone liked until August 13th.

  20. CSH

    I have found myself reading through this blog and attendent comments with regularity over the past few weeks. Not only has this particular crime been compellingly interesting (interesting? Disturbing, fascinating, gruesome, unholy, surreal, diabolical….so many words come to mind to describe it…not so many words come to mind why I am interested in learning about why. I like happy thoughts! I digress…) but the thought processing offered here has been very interesting as well.

    This is my first comment and it really is just an attempt to explain/clarify mortgage payments. The purchase price of the home does not represent the actual cost the homebuyer is paying for that house over the life of the loan; their monthly payments would be based upon that inclusion. A simplistic example basically means they are paying the purchase price + the cost of interest compounded over the life of the loan (typically 30 years) = the loan value. Payments are based upon THAT value with the bank setting how much of each monthly payment goes towards that total interest and how much goes towards the principle (purchase price). When they made their payments, they made them for the full loan amount….only $638 of that total monthly payment went towards paying the principle or home equity…the rest was interest payment to the bank not counted towards the home equity and why they still owed so much on their home.

    They were actually doing better than most homeowners having that much equity already in their home. Not so good considering it had been revealed they were several months behind on their mortgage payments and would lose that equity if faced with foreclosure. Looking at it from then, not now.

    This isn’t intended to suggest that financial crisis wasn’t steering this disaster as getting behind on those payments, borrowing from his 401k, and other obvious signs of financial distress were clearly evident. This is just meant to clarify that the numbers you have used in this article have a different context and different values than you have represented here. Hoping it helps with the perspective I’m reading in other comments as well.

    • nickvdl

      They were actually doing better than most homeowners having that much equity already in their home.>>>I guess the house had nothing to do with crime then. Ah well.

      • CSH

        I’m not certain I understand how intentionally* misrepresenting a cost analysis of their mortgage payments will help in your effort to be the leading authority of facts and information on The Watts Case, but the information I offered was to help clarify what appeared to be your misunderstanding.

        • nickvdl

          The above comment and criticism has been redacted, and CSH permanently banned from this site. When I’m accused of intentional misrepresentation as a true crime writer, really, that is the last straw.

          Chris Watts said his monthly mortgage payment was $2 700. That is a fact. Was he paying that amount, or able to, or wasn’t he? It’s also a fact that he was behind on his mortgage, and being sued by the Homeowner’s Association at the time of the murders. The failure to afford or hold onto his big, expensive home was a major driving force in this crime.

          That’s the central message of this post.

      • Debbe

        CSH is explaining home ownership in America, as it appears to the buyer. The problems in the Watts home were varied and extreme. Probably financial, probably dysfunctional. One big problem, not mentioned much is Chris, the ball-less wonder. Ronnie Watts, the father who was his role model, virtually had a breakdown when Chris married and moved away.

        I think Mama Cindy Watts is the reason FOR the murder. (Don’t agree? Look at C&S wedding photos, see C’s face – not happy, glum. Mama Cindy emasculated Ronnie, then Chris. Mama hated S, Chris’ new strong (!!) woman. Remember the bridal shower dirty tricks Mama and sister Jamie pulled?)

        Daddy and Chris were symbiotic twins with Mama as the common enemy. Everybody did things Mama’s way or the highway. Fast forward: the tree nut conspiracy. Lines were crossed in the sand. Shan’ann’s looking for support. Not here, sweetie. Mama’s boy can’t speak. Mama’s boy has NEVER been able to speak. To anyone. A frightened little boy who never grew up. A warped sad sack who couldn’t love but who could annihilate his family and wanted to change dancing partners mid-dance and never looked back.

        This coward couldn’t speak to his wife, so he killed her. His little girls reminded him of his wife so he killed them. Dieter didn’t remind him of anyone so Dieter could live.

        And Him! He could live because he had an exciting new sexual partner, and following Nickole’s orders would be so much easier than Shan’ann’s. Plus Nickole was open to anal sex.

      • Ralph Oscar

        “Remember the bridal shower dirty tricks Mama and sister Jamie pulled?”

        Debbe, can you please provide me with details of these “bridal shower dirty tricks” or a link to such details? Because thus far, I haven’t seen any. Thanks in advance.

    • Ralph Oscar

      Since they had paid $400K for the home and the appraised value was upwards of $600K at the time of the murders (if memory serves), they would likely have been able to take out a home equity loan and that way get caught up on their obligations.

      Problem is, then, that they need to sell *immediately* to be able to satisfy BOTH those debts before the property values change in a negative direction. Neither of them would have wanted to do that. Selling was the ready solution that was, for whatever reason, simply inaccessible to them. To them *both*. We’ve discussed already how, in a situation where there are multiple options, a given person will only be able to consider one or a few out of the total – the rest are simply inaccessible to that person, given his/her history, experience, fears, expectations, goals, self-image, etc. August was the time to put the house on the market; instead, three people (or four, however you count it) ended up dead. Under what circumstances is murder/dying better than selling the house?

      And would any financing entity be willing to extend a home equity loan to people who were already several months behind on their mortgage payments, and more than that behind on their HOA dues?

      I don’t know; I would never take out a home equity line of credit loan (just a baby step up from payday loans, in my estimation), but there was that property appreciation aspect that might have played a part in this couple’s financial options, had they been emotionally capable of evaluating them.

  21. Sylvester

    He was likely bringing home all of the bacon. She was supposed to take care of the finances. Obviously, she wasn’t. She was spending the money on trips and product, t shirts, image-making stuff. Imagine the rage – it would have been silent rage but it was there.

    • Ralph Oscar

      “Imagine the rage – it would have been silent rage but it was there.”

      It was Nick’s Unequally Yoked post (link at bottom) that made me take a hard look at myself in the context of my just-over-27-year marriage – and realize I was taking advantage. I was being careless and inconsiderate. I changed. Immediately. Drastically. Because Nick’s post and the comments brought home to me just how much “financial infidelity” can affect the partners in a marriage and their future as a “going concern”, as they say in business. I realized something I already knew on some level – that I was being irresponsible – and I was simultaneously horrified and terrified. I looked into the abyss. And I shut that shit down. I don’t remember when I arrived on CrimeRocket – I lurked for a while before I posted. So maybe January-ish? And here we are.

      I didn’t want to be responsible for that sort of “silent rage” and what it might have spawned. So I stopped. I changed my ways, developed different habits. Pretty much on the spot. Because I *saw* and what I saw panicked me on an existential level. Fortunately, our situation was not dire; a simple change in behavior on my part would right whatever wrongs.

      Thanks, Nick. And everyone else, too.

  22. Sylvester

    Or that was the shouting Nate heard inside the house. Discussions about selling the house. You already mentioned that but it’s worth mentioning again. Watts was trying to be heard.

    • Cheryl

      Sylvester, I agree that Watts was trying to be heard, but from all accounts Shan’ann simply ignored, diminished, and ultimately silenced him by continuing to do what she pleased—until the final reckoning on August 13th.

  23. Shannon

    Slyvester. I enjoy your comments. Myself I’ve done things I’m not proud of. I’m sure we all have. The good, bad, ugly…..we try to stay away from evil.
    This is just a guy who didn’t want his situation anymore.
    Its sad how some people decide to go this route.
    Too much, to little and not enough.

  24. Sylvester

    34.09 months in arrears on HOA dues. Was that bill just ignored for 3 years? I think if he turned over the finances to her he may have assumed it was being kept up with. That bill comes separately in the mail. He may not have even known it wasn’t being paid – but would have known the mortgage payment was not being paid for 3 months. And yet sending your children to a private school- one in kindergarten the other in pre-school – was a priority. The public school system would have been good enough for most people if money was tight. They weren’t just in financial trouble, it was a major meltdown. But when she’s in NC the main topic of the arguments was not the house or money, it was why he was no longer responsive to her and the peanut fiasco. They had five weeks while she was away to discuss selling the house and given the texts, etc., it doesn’t sound like it was brought up once.

  25. Sylvester

    Oh, and thank you Shannon. And happy holidays to everyone

  26. Shannon

    Your welcome Sylvester.

    Happy Holidays to All.
    Hope 2019, brings us all
    Health Wealth Happiness.

  27. me

    My guess is that Shannan was dreaming of the $200k or 1 million bonus. I bet all those crates downstairs are filled with Thieve that she bought and never sold but pretended to have sold in her attempt to get the bonus. Her mom alleged took over Shannan’s business and she’s probably trying to sell all the unsold product.

    When you are not mortgage free and have a mortgage the banks usually require your property taxes be included in the mortgage. I’ve never heard of your home insurance being part of your mortgage payment.

    This house was massively overpriced. They bought in 2013 and just a few tiny years earlier, in 2008 – 09, a house like this, and even a nicer house, could’ve been purchased for $60k or less.

    • Zana

      I don’t know where you live, but taxes and insurance are almost always escrowed so that the lender knows that their investment is insured and won’t be encumbered by a tax lien. Also, you can’t buy a house without mortgage insurance if you can’t put 20% down. I don’t know where you are getting your information, but in Colorado, that house would not have been available for 60k in 2008. Maybe in 1978.

  28. Shannon

    This is hard for me but here goes.
    My ex husband remarried. To a complete control obsessed lying freak.
    She alinated his family from him, my daughters from me, his friends from him.
    It was her and her family. No one else.
    She completely Controlled every aspect of his life and my daughters. And her ex husband, kid as well.
    For 14 years I paid child support to them
    I had my daughters at first when we Seperated after a few years they went to stay with him. Then he met her. For the next 26 years it has been a nightmare. I last saw my 2 , 30 year old daughters 23 years ago at my dad’s funeral.
    So I know from being on the inside but looking from the outside, what’s it like to have a fuck up in your life. It’s not nice.
    It can maybe make you do something that’s not right, after years of the B’S. I can understand.
    I’m not even going into detail.
    I’ve never remarried or had any more kids.
    If I didn’t act like the blonde bimbo, I’d be crazy. The emotional toll was heartbreaking.
    But, I’m a believer in karma.

    • Marie

      People can’t understand unless they have been there. I understand . It completely changes who you are

  29. Duttdip

    What is surprising to me though is that their text messages have ZERO reference to finance. They talked about being in love, about the unborn baby, about nut allergies and parents, but not a word about finance. Neither Chris nor Shanann ever broached the topic. Were they running away from the problem? When you have a financial problem, why not take it head on?

    • nickvdl

      That’s a great point. We don’t know what they said in person, or over the phone. But it is very weird how Shan’ann didn’t seem aware or worried about their finances, or if she was, she was playing it very close to her chest.

      • Ralph Oscar

        In that video at the beach during the NC vacation (was it SC?) where Chris had joined them and the girls are seeing the beach/surf for the first time, Shan’Ann mentions to someone (her father?) “We’re going to Cabo next year.” If Chris had been on the fence at all (and I’m not saying that he was; he may have had his mind completely made up by that point), believing that Shan’Ann was finally acknowledging the dire reality of their financial situation and had committed to making the difficult changes that would be required for them to keep their heads above water financialy, then that comment all by itself might have sealed her/their fate. I’m sure you’ve been in situations where a seemingly innocuous comment changed *everything* – enabled you to *see*, and once you can see, you can’t unsee. It’s over. You’re DONE.

        That comment stuck out to me – it said to me, “We’re going to keep going the way we’ve been going.” I’ve described it as “dog science”:

        When someone says – promises! – they’ll change, and then makes a comment that indicates they actually see things continuing without anything changing, it can be worse than disappointing or demoralizing. It’s the record scratch that brings reality into sharp focus, the application of Narcan to an unwilling opioid addict. Reality suddenly intrudes and smacks the person smartly right in the face. The shock is unimaginable. The betrayal is devastating.

        I’m not saying that Shan’Ann had promised that she’d change, but given the context – her pleas to see a counselor, her sending him the self-help book, etc. – it’s not outside the bounds of possibility. And if, while they were apart, she’d begged him, pleaded with him, *promised* him that she wanted to change, he might have held on to a fragile thread of hope that perhaps they could work this out, climb out of this dark hole, recapture that feeling of being a team that they’d had when they moved to CO and create a new, wonderful family with a new baby. Only to see a few words to slash that thread apart.

        We all view the evidence through the filters of our own experience, so you may well perceive it differently. That’s how it looks from MY house.

  30. nancyjames3358

    I do not find the Watts relationship with finances unique.

    Could it be a millennial thing?

    The majority of millennials I interact with-family, work, personal-do not have the same attitude/respect for money as us seasoned boomers.

    One would think a bankruptcy would change behavior and put a degree of financial conservation in their lifestyle.

    Not family Watts.

  31. CEREMONIAL MACE (@hellorhighaf)

    I think you’re forgetting that mortgage payments are like 90% interest at first. They paid a lot on their mortgage, more than I think most houses of that cost would have…unless they had a pretty decent sized down payment.

    • nickvdl

      You are one of many that have emphasized that. What you ignore is the mortgage itself – $2700 a month. That is a matter of fact. Watts was paying barely a quarter of that. This is the aspect I’m trying to focus attention on. But no, let’s argue the math of interest payments. Was he able to pay his mortgage or not? Was he falling behind on his payment or not? Once we get to the point where we can actually admit that was the case, then maybe we can start wondering what impact the home loan was having on him personally. Or would you rather talk about proportions of interest?

  32. ellison.britney

    I just covered some of this case on my blog and plan to go much deeper into it. This vase interests me so much for some reason!

  33. Mustang Sally

    Shannon, I hope 2019 brings more peace and happiness into your life. That was tough to read.

    Duttdip, while I notice there are not direct references to their finances (which is odd!), I did notice indirect stuff such as her mentioning keeping receipts to write off on taxes (one in reference to that bogus work related Rockies game/meal splurge), that her associates at the conference paid for her dinner, researching with coupons for the Aspen getaway…small stuff like that.

    That most recent picture of the house taken on the last day of 2018 looks so sad. It is sad, duh, but that house looks like it has absorbed it all. Or maybe it just looks empty? Of anything.

    What do you do with a house like that? The notoriety it will always represent?

  34. Shannon

    Thank you Marie and Mustang Sally.
    By the way I love that song, Mustang Sally, by the Commitments.

  35. rn33

    Not sure if anyone said this in the 87 comments already, but the house is in both Chris’s and Shannan’s names. It’s super easy to check because it’s public record. Weld County CO assessor, property data search, 2825 Saratoga, then look at the “owners” section. His name is listed first, then hers, which is why sometimes only his name appears. There’s not always room for both names. I worked in real estate for many years so am very familiar with property records. Her name wouldn’t be listed there at all if she wasn’t an owner. You can also see the same listed on the property record on the county treasurer’s website.

    • Ralph Oscar

      Chris’s name is on the LOAN. After he purchased the house in his own name, on his own credit, he added Shan’Ann’s name to the TITLE, but her name was not on the loan. Because she had lousy credit left over from NC.

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